The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968)

Directed by Charles Jarrott (Condorman), written by Ian McLellan Hunter (he won the Oscar for Roman Holiday, which was really written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo; Hunter was later blacklisted as well) and produced by Dan Curtis, this made for ABC TV movie originally aired on January 7, 1968 as part of ABC’s Wide World of Mystery.

Rod Serling wrote the original draft of the script, with Jason Robards set to star. The actor was unhappy with the script and there was a technician’s strike in London, so eventually, Robards just walked away and Jack Palance took over the role.

Palance — born Volodymyr Palahniuk — had the tough guy edge to be a perfect Hyde. His Jekyll is what really makes this role, that he can be two totally opposite sides so well. Credit also goes to Dick Smith, who not only created satyr-like makeup for Hyde, but subtly fixed Palance’s nose so that he appears more handsome as Jekyll.

Denholm Elliott — later to be Marcus Brody in the Indiana Jones movies — shows up, as does Torin Thatcher, Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Baylock from The Omen!) and Welsh entertainer “Two Ton” Tessie O’Shea.

If you watch the later scenes in this movie, you’ll notice that Palance is only using his right arm. that’s because he broke his left during a stunt gone wrong.

Dark Shadows viewers will pick up on the fact that most of the music in this comes directly from the show. When Jekyll goes to the bar for the first time, listen for “Quentin’s Theme.”

You can watch this on Tubi.

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